ONEONTA, N.Y. -SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski announced today that the college will begin phasing out its staff-run radio station, WUOW, 104.7 FM. She cited the need to allocate resources in a manner consistent with the college's mission as the reason for the decision.
"This was not an easy decision," said President Kleniewski in a message distributed campus-wide this afternoon. "Cabinet considered several options, finally determining that continued investment in WUOW would not be well aligned with the overall plan to shape SUNY Oneonta."
In 2010, SUNY Oneonta adopted a strategic plan that sharpened the college's focus on student-centered learning, teaching and scholarship.
"The campus community, through an inclusive and deliberative process, framed the mission and new strategic plan to guide discussions about the direction of the college," said SUNY Oneonta Director of Communications Hal S. Legg, who has administered WUOW since November 2010. "Along with clear priorities come some extremely tough choices, and this certainly is one of them."
Launched, in part, as a response to Oneonta's 2006 flood, one objective of WUOW was to enhance the capacity of local emergency services agencies to communicate to the general public by giving them direct access to the station's airwaves to make announcements. However, emerging technologies have begun closing communications gaps during widespread emergencies, such as natural disasters.
At the time it was established, WUOW's business plan was premised on underwriting to make it cost-neutral. However, according to Vice President for Finance and Administration Todd Foreman, the station has fallen short of being self-supporting.
"Otsego County is a small market, and developing a sufficient revenue stream unfortunately has proved challenging," said Foreman. "Based on our experience up to this point, it just seems unrealistic to believe that the station could generate enough income to cover its expenses."
Legg said the greatest loss for listeners will be the station's locally produced programming. "From 'Spotlight on Our Communities,' which features interviews with leaders of area civic groups, businesses and charitable organizations, to 'Friday Featured Artist,' a weekly, hour-long focus on one musical act, we've had some quality shows, and they'll be missed, I'm sure," he said.
SUNY Oneonta houses another radio station, WONY, 90.9 FM, which is run by students and funded by the college's Student Association. WONY is not affected by the plan to phase out WUOW.